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Ministry of Health and Municipality Look to Eliminate Street Venders

By Oliver Pérez

Friday morning, June 22, a group of officials from the Ministry of Health and the Municipality of Nicoya decomissioned merchandise from a group of women street venders that display their products in front of the Court of Justice in the city of Nicoya. 

The group of women, the majority heads of households, arrive every day at the southeast side of the courthouse in Nicoya, almost before the first rays of sunlight shine, to sell tortillas, squash, atol made from corn, rosquillas, chicheme and other agricultural products. 

The female group comes from Los Hondores, Las Casitas and Matambu.  Even though the Municipality conditioned a building for them known as the Mercado de las Guayabas, they decided more than two years ago to sell in the streets, affirming that no one comes to this market. 

The problem for the women is that the Ministry of Health forbids street vending, principally of food, as stated by the high court Sala IV, which supports the eradication of street vendors as they infringe upon environmental rights and people’s health.


On Friday the 22nd, the sellers were surprised at 9 a.m. by the operative, and the presence of the Public Force was necessary due to the refusal of the women to hand over their merchandise. The Ministry of Health is responsiable for decommisioning all of these products and destroying them since they don’t have a sanitary control. 

According to Gabriel Sotelo, inspector for the Ministry of Health, the procedure starts with the act of decommissioning, and they also perform an act of destruction in the case of perishable substances.

This day, on the Facebook social network of Naum Masis, treasurer of the Development Association of Matambu, dozens of users made declarations against the decision of both institutions.  

For example, Marianela Castillo remarked about the “humble people trying to bring food to their kids, while those who sell drugs in the view and patience of everyone; I don’t understand the so-called “laws” of this country….”

Miriam Retana, one of the sellers, expressed to VON that she doesn’t understand the attitude of the Municipality and Ministry of Health if they are working honorably. 

“Here we are making a living for our families. We prefer to be here and not go and ask the government to give us anything. Here we manage. It’s true that 50 meters from where we are, there is a little market, but no ones goes there, so it goes better for us here,” Retana, from Las Casitas, manifested with anger.

For his part, the mayor, Marco Antonio Jimenez, laments what happened but said that the laws must be respected. 

“They have to know that street vending is prohibited; we understand the bad situation of the population, but unfortunately we have to act. All of these sales are not permitted. The women affected have the little market so they can sell their products but they prefer to be on the street in the sun and rain. We don’t understand,” explained the mayor. 

The muncipality is working on a project to remodel Las Guayabas market and give more space for this type of sales.


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The Order to Close Pedregal is for Land that Was Not Being Exploited

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Servicentro Nicoya Under Scrutiny for Closing Passageway and Possible Illegal Construction

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Rising Prices Hurt the Pocketbook

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